The Cincinnati Reds try to extend a three-game winning streak when they take on the host New York Mets in the first of a three-game weekend series on Friday night. The series opener is scheduled for a 7:10 p.m. ET first pitch at Citi Field.
Cincinnati took the last three of a four-game series with the Chicago Cubs, including a 7-4 decision on Thursday. The Reds are in second place in the National League Central, trailing the first-place Milwaukee Brewers by seven games and leading the third-place St. Louis Cardinals by 2½ games.
The Mets, who acquired shortstop Javier Diaz from the Chicago Cubs on Friday, are coming off a 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, falling to 54-47. New York is in first place in the NL East, leading the second-place Philadelphia Phillies by 3½ games and the third-place Braves by four games.
The MLB odds for this contest have the Mets with a moneyline of -140, while the Reds are listed at +125. The over/under for the series opener is set at eight runs.
The Reds were one of the few National League contenders that didn’t make a headline-making deal at the trade deadline. Cincinnati’s headlines lately are being made by first baseman Joey Votto, who has homered in a franchise-record six straight games.
“It’s cool,” Votto said after Thursday’s win. “I’m just glad we came out with wins and are playing good baseball. I just want to be a part of that.”
Votto has eight home runs over the last six contests, driving in 14 runs over that span. The 37-year-old has 20 home runs and 58 RBIs and is batting .278.
Outfielder Jesse Winker leads Cincinnati with 21 home runs while his .306 batting average ranks 10th in the majors. Winker also has 26 doubles, 58 RBIs and 68 runs scored.
Right-hander Sonny Gray will be on the mound for the series opener for the Reds, bringing a 2-6 record and 4.50 ERA to the contest. Gray has struck out 89 and walked 28 over 70 innings.
The 31-year-old has taken losses in each of his last two starts. His last outing was Sunday against St. Louis, as he lasted 3.1 innings, giving up eight runs on eight hits, including three home runs, while striking out three and walking one.
The Mets are going to be lifted by the fact that the team acquired an All-Star shortstop in Baez. He isn’t expected to be with the team for this game, but just the knowledge he’s on his way will give New York a boost.
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco will be making his first start of the season and his Mets debut on Friday night. Carrasco came to New York in the Francisco Lindor deal in the offseason, but he tore his right hamstring before he even made an exhibition game appearance.
The 34-year-old had been with Cleveland for his entire major league career. He has a lifetime record of 242-195 with a 3.77 ERA, going 3-4 in 12 starts for the Indians last season.
First baseman Pete Alonso has been the offensive star for New York, leading the team with a .262 batting average, 23 home runs and 62 RBIs. He’s also hit 13 doubles and scored 47 times.
First baseman Dominic Smith is batting .251 with 13 doubles, 11 home runs, 45 RBIs and 36 runs scored. He snapped a four-game hitless streak on Thursday with a 2-for-4 performance against the Braves.
New York took two out of three when thes teams played in Cincinnati earlier this month, averaging 8.3 runs in the series. The Mets are 32-18 at home while the Reds are 28-23 on the road.
The Reds will have Wade Miley (8-4, 2.86 ERA) on the mound on Saturday, followed by Vladimir Gutierrez (5-3, 4.75) on Sunday. New York is scheduled to start Rich Hill (6-4, 3.95) on Saturday followed by Marcus Stroman (7-9, 2.63) in the finale.
The MLB series prices for this three-game set have the Mets as the favorites at -150, while the Reds are listed at +120.
Mets Earn Win
New York is getting a bunch of new faces for the stretch run, including Carrasco on the mound. The Mets at home are just too tough to pick against.
When doing your MLB betting, take New York to win at home.
Pick: New York Mets -140